In anticipation of this year’s rains which have been forecasted to be slightly above normal, Ghanaians have been charged to make the conscious effort of regularly desilting gutters and drains within their communities.
Minister of Works and Housing, Honourable Samuel Atta Akyea, who made the call while on a tour to kick-start an exercise of actively involving communities to desilt their gutters in flood-prone areas in Accra, stressed that such an exercise will prevent floods in the event of heavy downpour.
The ‘desilt choked gutters exercise’ is a collaboration between the Ministries of Works and Housing, Local Government and Rural Development, Sanitation and Water Resources, Dredge Masters, Zoomlion Ghana Limited and the Assemblies.
It is aimed at ensuring that the drains and gutters are free to allow easy flow of water to ward off floods which have the tendency to destroy lives, properties and livelihoods.
Accompanying the minister on his tour was the Mayor for Accra, Mohammed Adjei Sowah, Executive Chairman of Zoomlion Ghana Limited, Dr Joseph Siaw Agyepong, and some assembly members.
The tour took Mr Atta Akyea to communities including Chorkor Chemunna, Borla Junction area, Shukura, and Zamrama Line—all in the Ablekuma South Constituency, Greater Accra Region.
At Chorkor Chemunna, Mr Atta Akyea, the MP for the area, Dr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuijie, the Mayor of Accra and Dr Siaw Aguepong joined hands with the residents to desilt the heavily choked gutters in the community.
Addressing a group of journalists, Mr Atta Akyea lamented over the fact that most of the gutters and drains were choked.
He attributed this to the Ghanaian sub-culture of creating filth and tipping it into the gutters and drains.
He described this as a “bad habit” that comes back to punish residents in the form of breeding of mosquitoes, dysentery, diarrhea because of the poor management of the environment.
To this end, Mr Atta Akyea advocated for a permanent fix to the country’s perennial flooding problem.
According to him, the country should be considering constructing subterranean drainage system where all the gutters and drains would be underground instead of open drains which have been with us since independence.
The subterranean drain, he stated, will prevent the prying eyes of recalcitrant citizens from tipping their garbage from their homes into the drains.
“It is a hugely capital-intensive project but we do not have a choice,” he argued.
He opined that tackling such a capital-intensive project would mean that money is allotted specifically for it.
That, he said, would mean that the country goes to the capital/bond market to raise about US$10 billion to undertake this project.
“I am of the humble view that in the long-run constructing subterranean drains would pay off instead of the country having to pay money for the yearly desilting of drains and gutters,” he opined.
Mayor of Accra, Mohammed Adjei Sowah, admonished residents in the national capital to show positive attitudes towards their environs. These, he said, included refraining from throwing garbage into open drains, indiscriminate littering and ensuring that their environs are always clean, adding that his outfit would enforce the bye-laws on the environment.
On the footbridge across the Chemu Lagoon which was destroyed recently, the mayor
announced that plans were underway to build a concrete bridge which will enable cars to also ply on, besides its use by residents.
Zoomlion Ghana Limited brought in personnel and waste management vehicles in support of the exercise, while Dredge Masters’ workers were also seen busily desilting drains in the said communities.